My Chocolate Lab

When our Lola dies, I want to string her up and slit open her belly, just like a great white shark.  I’m curious to see what comes spilling out.

From the minute we brought her home, Lola has been eating things other than her kibble.  She chewed (and swallowed) the normal puppy things- shoes, squeeky toys, bones, Zombiegirl’s stuffies, books, remote controls- you know, normal stuff.  But as she grew, she set her sights on loftier goals.  Specifically, anything on the dining room table, counter and hutch.

Lola was a rebound pet.  When our beloved Lexi passed away at 12 weeks, we went back to Northshore Animal League bereft and pissed off.  Armed with the vet’s report, we brought Zombiegirl with us looking for answers. Or a refund.  Or another dog.

We should have just cut our losses.

Lola was the most active in the bunch of newly-fixed black lab puppies.  All the rest of them were moping around, flopping over each other.  MR stuck his fingers in the cage and of course, true to form, Lola started nibbling his fingers.  He was hooked.

We should have run the other way.

(Why does North Shore specialize in these black labs?  I’ve run into this dog so many times around the Island and the owners all say they got them at North Shore.  And they’re all mostly crazy.)

Puppy life was normal for Lola.  Zombiegirl became her best friend and oftentimes the two of them would be found sound asleep together on the couch.  Lola still sleeps in either Z-girl’s or Beena’s bed.  Or on the couch.  She chewed through many a dog toy, finding the stuffed dog toys especially tasty.  Natural progression led her to seek out Z-girl’s stuffed animals.  I can’t tell you how many times we would come home to find the house strewn with stuffing or worse, those little styrofoam ball thingys.

When she was about a year old, Lola found she could stand on her back legs and reach things on the counter.  A few weeks before Christmas that year, I received a gift basket at work from one of my vendors.  I brought all the boxes home- Italian cookies, chocolate covered pretzels, boxes and boxes of candies, chocolate covered nuts- really nice packaged treats I was planning on setting out for my annual Cookie Exchange party.  I put them all on our dining room hutch, way in the back, and went about my business.

I don’t remember where we went, but I remember coming home a few nights later with the family to what I could only describe as a gluttonous disaster.  Cookie boxes, cellophane, dented tins and candy cups covered every inch of the living room floor.  And our dear Lola, sitting in the middle of it all, tail wagging and belly two sizes too big.  We estimated she ate approximately eight pounds of chocolaty things.

Yes…I know chocolate can be deadly to dogs.  It contains a caffeine related substance called theobromine which can sicken or kill a dog.  Chocolate is more likely to give a dog a bad stomach ache than kill them, but if the dog ingests high enough levels, it can be fatal.

What, eight pounds wasn’t enough?

Our dear Lola didn’t die, she was just hyperactive for days.

We learned that night to keep everything up and out of her way.  Sometimes, though, we would forget and come home to find a loaf of bread missing (pieces of the wrapper left behind) or a pack of gum chewed to pieces (I often wondered if she farted, would she blow bubbles?)  Every time she caused an infraction, she would be sent to the bathroom as punishment.  We needed her out of the way so we could clean up the mess and wait for the urge to kill her to go away.  One night, after she got into a whole bag of hamburger buns I needed for dinner that night, we left her in the bathroom until after we ate.  When we let her out, we saw the destruction on the bathroom floor.

She ate one of MR’s disposable razors.

I’ll let that one sink in…

The plastic was chewed to pieces and (mostly) spit out.  The razor blade itself was a tangled, chewed mess on the floor.  MR pointed out that it was a double razor blade.  We looked all over for that second blade, but came to the conclusion in was consumed.  We debated whether to take her to the vet, but since it was such a small piece of metal and she had all those rolls in her stomach, we decided to watch for blood and then take action.

No blood.  The damn dog was fine.  Perky even. 

Over the years, she’s gotten hold of a few more razors (all blades afterwards accounted for) even though MR puts them up high where we think she can’t reach.  If you’ve seen this dog jump, you’ll understand why nothing really is safe unless it’s behind locked cabinet doors.  The crime is usually committed the MINUTE we shut the front door.  We’ve walked to the car then turned back remembering something we’ve forgotten and she’s already started on the appetizer course.  She’s eaten steel wool, balloons, countless baseballs (ingesting the leather first, then the wool strings then chewing (into bits and bits and bits) the cork center), soccer balls, ice cubes, garbage, plastic containers (which was used to store food then put in the refrigerator), aluminum foil, peanut butter jars, potato chip bags (with the potato chips still in them) and,  grossest of all, used feminine hygiene products and dirty undies out of the hamper.

Lately, we’ve been really diligient in keeping everything off the counter.  Food in plastic is not safe as is anything packaged in aluminum.  Last week, after a shopping trip, I had cans of tomatos and boxes of mac and cheese on the counter, waiting to be put downstairs on the storage shelves.  Since they never go downstairs immediately, they sat on the counter for a few days.

Lola must have felt the pull.  Who would have thought a dog could smell artificial processed cheese through the package and the cardboard box.

Our living room was a nice powdered orange when we got home.  At least she didn’t eat the elbow macaroni.  Much.

The last straw was Tuesday night.  I bought six boxes of devil’s food cake mix for this weekend- Halloween ghost and pumpkin cake pops for the soccer teams, birthday cupcakes for Beena and owl cupcakes for MR’s soccer team (the WH Owls) and for Kansas to bring to work.  I have a lot of baking to do this weekend.  I don’t need grief.

Grief is Lola’s middle name.  Thanks, Lola.  I could understand eating a BAKED cake, but the dry cake mix itself?  Right out of the box? Then the box itself?  She left chocolate dust everywhere downstairs and then took the party upstairs to Beena’s room.  I found chocolate pawprints in the hallway, for crumb’s sake. 

If she wasn’t such a good watchdog, she’d be living in the bathroom permanently.  I’m looking for a crate.  A solid steel crate,

because I know she’ll chew through anything else.

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